Two doctor visits in as many days made me decide to stay the night in Adelaide rather than endure the 200-plus mile round trip two days in a row. My choice of the Hilton, booked through Wotif.com, was primarily due to its location in Victoria Square – mere yards away from the Central Market and just round the corner from the wall-to-wall eateries of Grote Street.
My previous experience of Hilton hotels was the Leeds Hilton (West Yorkshire, England) – one of the worst hotels in which I have ever stayed, seemingly designed by someone more familiar with hospitals or possibly prisons. Despite that past experience, I entered into this with an open mind.
- Location, location, location – including good communications. Trams and busses run through Victoria Square down King William Street and the coach depot is just round the corner in Grote Street.
- The staff were pleasant and seemed well switched-on and were not the humourless bunch I have encountered in other large hotels.
- Hotel bar prices somewhat less extortionate than the norm, friendly and efficient staff. (The bar at the Leeds Hilton was unmanned; after waiting some time we ended up going to the pub over the road.)
- Two ‘proper’ restaurants in the building including the excellent Brasserie which I have reviewed elsewhere.
- A pillow menu. I didn’t read this properly at first and assumed it was snacks in bed. However, one can actually choose different types of pillow for optimum comfort. As most of my hotel stays have required the services of a chiropractor afterwards, I found this idea excellent and wish it would spread to all hotels everywhere.
- Power point right next to bed. Not something that most people would consider important, but as a CPAP user I assure you it is – no scuttling off to the concierge to borrow a power extension cable.
- Room was quieter than many hotel rooms in which I have stayed.
I won’t call this section ‘The Bad’ as these are just minor niggles about information that I feel should be given at checkin, apart from the plumbing. I expect to find fault with hotel plumbing and have rarely found otherwise.
- As a security measure, the lifts (elevators) require the insertion of a room key to gain access to the guest floors. There is a label stating this, but I am a) not in the habit of reading notices at waist-level and b) am not in the habit of looking for instructions in lifts anyway. The information is also displayed on a small directory of floors, but who would read this if they knew where they were going already? In a lift, you press the button, the lift goes up (or down). But in this case it doesn’t unless you have swiped your card. The simple and obvious fix for this is to tell guests that they need to use their key to operate the lifts when they check in.
- My 14th floor room had a view – from a window that started below knee-level. I have a serious problem with heights and walking in on this view which I might call vertiginous or even just “arrgh!” made me feel quite ill. I ended up crawling across the floor to shut the curtain to block said view out. I am not the only one bad with heights – a simple warning would have been nice, as the shock was the worst part of it. (In the morning – when I was expecting it – I was able to get close enough to the window to take the photograph shown here.)
- Plumbing. I don’t know what it is about hotel plumbing – there is nearly always something wrong. In this case the issue was with the shower. Firstly, the control to divert flow through the overhead rose and an adjustable head was very erratic in operation. Secondly, the mixer control appeared to work backwards and used only colour to designate hot and cold. To me, logic says that turning the control in the direction of the red mark should increase the flow of hot and vice-versa. However, moving the control towards the direction of the red mark turned the hot off instead.
If I had to make a single recommendation on how to improve the hotel, I would say to get in a usability/user experience (UX) consultant. Nobody’s going to fix hotel plumbing – it’s a global conspiracy.
The Adelaide Hilton is one of the best hotels in its class in which I have stayed. I would certainly consider it for future visits, definitely over any of the North Terrace hotels, unless I was attending the Festival Theatre. Hopefully this good experience should help me forget the trauma that was Leeds.
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